Only a handful of us sit in front of the lectern on a boldly blue and bright Saturday afternoon to hear poet Doug Stone read. He takes it in stride, thanking us for abandoning the allure of outdoors for a library meeting room. A muted sunlight filters through the windows; there’s warmth inside. This afternoon poetry carves its own space, create its own beauty.
I doodle and jot, capturing phrases that cling, the “sticky” ones, ephemeral yet enduring. As I leave, I purchase a copy of his first collection, The Season of Distress and Clarity, and tell him that I’m eager for his next. He has used us as a sounding board today, crediting an audience with his ability to hear rhythms and cadence, to aid in revision—a part of the process that almost never ends.
These lines last:
There goes a fool
who should’ve listened to the counsel of the wind.
Emptied and honest
how lithe and sturdy that shadow used to be
the sturdy sadness of their lives
that shatter of feathers
quivers in a cage of bones still
disturbs my rearview mirror.
The tides still keep their busy schedules
wind-crazed gulls, river of stars
Like Christ who used to fish
dark stillness at the center
The things you know but cannot explain. (credit to artist Rick Bartow)